On Track with the Bay Colony Rail Trail (Winter 2011 Newsletter)
A cross-country skiier enjoys a porton of the 50-mile Air Line Rail Trail in eastern Connecticut, not far from the Connecticut River and the Massachusetts border. To learn more about this scenic rail trail, click here. (Photo courtesy of the Lebanon Rails-to-Trails Committee.)
BCRT progress in step with the seasons...
The Bay Colony Rail Trail had a productive 2010, and so far, 2011 is no different. Over the course of our first full year as an organization, our primary focus has been to develop and articulate the project strategy, and raise awareness about BCRT in Medfield, Dover, Needham, Newton and beyond.
Through a variety of presentations, town fairs and events, we have met thousands of people and established a positive presence in the community. The response has been enthusiastic, which has encouraged our efforts to create a magnificent, linear recreational park for all to enjoy.
By mid-year 2010 we earned recognition from Needham Bank in the form of a $10,000 donation over three years. Bank president Jack McGeorge cited the prospective rail trail as a healthy community effort with which he wanted Needham Bank to be associated. "As a community bank, we focus on supporting projects that provide a multitude of benefits, and the rail trail project is one that is easy to embrace," said McGeorge.
We topped off the year by gaining official 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the IRS, which positions us well as we start to ramp up further fundraising and support efforts.
In 2011, we will continue our efforts to build awareness among the host communities, and get a clearer sense of the issues and concerns that a trail might bring to residents. We're also looking for people who want to get more involved with the BCRT effort, in roles ranging from grant researchers, to database administrators, to community organizers.
A key initiative for this year will be the feasibility study to be conducted by the Boston Region MPO, an agency of Mass Department of Transportation. A favorable feasibility study will put us in a great position to gain official endorsement from each of the towns involved. With this support, we can begin the serious fund-raising and logistical planning required to bring the trail to fruition.
At the same time, we also have the opportunity to explore the possibility of working with an organization called Iron Horse Preservation Society to remove the rails and ties from the entire stretch -- at no cost. We still have much to learn about this idea, but it could allow us to make the rail trail pedestrian-friendly within a shorter period of time.
The next 11 to 12 months will be a pivotal time for the rail trail effort, and we hope you'll help us by reaching out to neighbors, family and friends to create awareness about the project, and encourage them to ask questions or share concerns. Having your continued support is critical to our success in 2011 and beyond, and we thank you for being a part of the extended BCRT team.
Please don't hesitate to contact us at baycolonyrailtrail at gmail.com with feedback, questions or to express an interest in helping us move the rail trail project forward.
Bay Colony Rail Trail
Other rail trail news...
Google Maps now includes rail trails. This new feature was made possible through a partnership with TrailLink run by the Rails to Trails Conservancy. Click here to read more.
After three years, the DCR has completed the lease on the 26-mile stretch of abandoned railroad right-of-way between Waltham and Berlin, MA -- a key segment of the future 104-mile Mass Central Rail Trail. To see the original press release about the process, click here.
The Framingham Cochituate Rail Trail is in the design stage, and has just wrapped up public hearings. To learn more about this local trail in development, click here.
A collaboration of South Coast organizations and agencies recently sponsored a Fall River summit to spur the creation of a South Coast Regional Bikeway. To learn more about this initiative, click here.
Heading down to New York City anytime soon? Take a stroll on the elevated High Line trail on the West Side of Manhattan, which combines recreational opportunities with art appreciation. Check it out here.
BCRT volunteers/board member needed...
The Bay Colony Rail Trail needs to fill the following positions:
Board member/public awareness & marketing director -- this volunteer will develop BCRT's strategic plan for creating awareness about the project among key stakeholders. Responsibilities include media relations, BCRT newsletter, and collateral development/management.
Fundraising committee members -- working with a board liaison, members of this committee will help to research grant opportunities and seek out other types of funding for BCRT.
Community liaisons -- BCRT needs a group of dedicated citizens in each of the communities it serves (Medfield, Dover, Needham and Newton) to keep residents and public officials informed about BCRT's plans.
If you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities, please contact us at baycolonyrailtrail at gmail.org.